So here's what I've come up with so far, thanks mostly to your sweet comments. (Thank you, by the way. You are all too sweet.)
--At least it was color, and not length. True. I had shoulder-length hair for a few years and grew it out for Superman. I love it long. Much easier for me to work with. And it's much easier to change color than grow length back.
--It's really NOT that bad. Just taking some time to get used to the unexpected outcome. I'm adjusting.
--At least I can still style it the way I like. After years of trying different products and styles, I've found what works for me. My hair is naturally wavy. Not curly. Big difference. If I simply let my hair air dry, it's wretched. A complete mess. Means that I can't just shower and go. At the very least, I put some spray gel in it with Beyond the Zone's texturizing spray. Here's the best I could find to help you know what my hair looks like au natural:
You can laugh, but I'm not exaggerating. If I were to comb out my air-dried hair, it would look like the first picture. Uncombed, looks like the bottom one.....but frizzier. Really. Wavy and kind of coarse.
So Cally Co, this one's for you, baby. To get the sleek curls:
I use Garnier Fructis shampoos and conditioners. I've combined almost all their formulas- color shine, length & strength, sleek & shine, moisturizing. Once it came with their Sleek & Shine Leave-in Conditioning Creme. I know for a fact that this has made a difference. My hair is much softer and shinier. I got the leave-in conditioner almost a year ago and still haven't used it all. And I use it 3-4 times/week.
I usually let my hair air-dry, but if I'm in a hurry I'll blow dry it. And I don't do anything special when I blow dry it. Just make sure that I'm always blowing down the cuticle.
I divide my hair into layers and use a 1.5 inch curling iron. It's a high-heat ConAir one - nothing professional. But the high heat works best and quickest for me.
I take a small section of hair and put my curling iron as close to my head as I can. Then I wrap the hair around the curling iron. I slowly turn the iron so that all my hair passes through it, then pull it close to my head again for a second or two and release. It comes out as a big, full ringlet, and not just at the end. Sometimes (usually just Sundays) I'll spritz a spray gel after each layer I complete.
Repeat for all 4 layers of hair. It takes me about 12 minutes. I have lots of big ringlets right now, but in an hour or two it will have relaxed. And because it's wavy, my hair holds curl really well. It won't look like ringlets tomorrow, but still have lots of soft curl.
So there it is. What I've found that works for me. Oh, my. I just turned this into a Works-for-me-Wednesday. Huh. Funny.
Have you found a style for your hair that you love or are you still searching?